Wanted: Titus 2 Women to Pour into the Lives of God’s ‘Next Generation’ Girls

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I am in my tenth year as a high school teacher and although the subjects I’ve taught have changed and the school where I teach is different, one this remains the same- God’s next generation girls need our guidance more than ever. While the issues they face are actually no different from those faced by their older sisters, mothers, grandmothers, or teachers- their teenage world is unbeknownst to us.

Theirs is the world of constant change and of image saturation; the culture of validation through social media and found worth from the acceptance of others. Theirs is the deep thirst for love and hope and discipleship; the need to witness both imperfection in older women and the completeness those women find in Christ. Theirs is the urgency to see a sophistication and classiness that is counter-cultural to the definition of beauty as the world sees it.

Titus 2 commissions the older generation- both men and women- to pour into the lives of those younger than us.

the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5

An initial reading of this sounds as if those older than myself, a thirty-something, should be teaching me the secrets of homemade meals and the true value of homemaking itself. Does Titus 2:3-5 totally discount our teenage girls? Heck no! Especially if you put into context that in biblical times, and really up until recent history for that matter, teenage girls were at the age to be married. So this passage was written to direct older women to disciple younger women (teenagers) in their daily lives.

But how does this apply today? I love the part of the passage that tells us to be reverent in behavior and teachers of good things. This is a direct authority from God over our younger women and a direct call to live a life that is visible of grace and love, of intelligence and self-control.

What I have learned from my tenure working directly with teenage girls- both as a teacher and mentor- is that they intrinsically crave older women whom they can look to as a model of Christ-like living. They seek women who are visible and bold in their faith, who live in true rebellion against a world that is sucking them into the lies of evil himself.

You may not have the opportunity to pour into the lives of teenage girls every single day like I do. But we all have cousins and nieces, babysitters and daughters, neighbors and teenage girls at church– we all have young women in our sphere of influence, even if we haven’t noticed their need for us in their lives. Start there, with that one girl that seems to enter your sphere more than others.

Then pray for her big prayers of intercession at the foot of the cross because you might be the only woman in her life praying for her. Start a conversation by asking her a question about how things are going and then really listen because she might desperately want to share that hurt on her heart with someone. Sit with her and teach her one of your favorite hobbies because she might need space in her life for positive interaction. Pour into her by living out loud a bold-faith that is only found in Christ.

It’s time that we, the older generation of women, grab tightly onto this authority. In a world that is tearing our teenage girls down, they need us more than ever to be teachers of good things and bearers of authentic hope.


About Cricket. I am a dreamer, a creative soul. And while I am also a full-time teacher, wife, and mother; I find rest and purpose in writing. Suffering for years from low spiritual self-esteem and struggling to find a medium to share all that God has done in my life, I am finally out of hiding. Embracing a new found confidence in Christ, I am learning the sweetness of stepping out in obedience and living life in a position of bold-faith. Through it all I run on Jesus, coffee, and lipstick… in that order. Tweet with me @CricketButler and read along at http://www.cricketbutler.com

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How to Stretch your Bubble

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I wake up. Stumble to the Coffee,  throw some Eggo waffles into the toaster oven for the wee ones. Don’t worry. We are healthy the rest of the day. (lie)

I get my kids looking like they are off to a Preppiest Kids Contest, while I’m rocking my yoga gear, yesterday’s eye-liner and pony tail. I drop off kids and wait for a bestie to call me around 8:15. I call another bestie around 9:00 am  and I carry out my day.

It’s full of chaos, giggles, and crying and laundry…dreaded laundry.  This is my life and the life of most of my friends. It’s my world in a bubble. I love my bubble.

I was listening to Matt Chandler one morning and he said, “If everyone you love , loves Jesus, then you don’t love enough people.”

Matt Chandler…I don’t have the time, energy, or brain space to love anyone else in my life right now.

But his words did sting a little…

What’s a Jesus loving girl to do with the call of evangelism with all this laundry to do and tea parties to be had? I don’t say those things jokingly…they are important! My family needs clean laundry.  My wee tots need me to play with them.

It is good and righteous to serve God by serving your family and raising children and encouraging your friends.

But is there a way to stretch our bubble to include those who don’t love Jesus at the same time?

The answer is YES! And it’s awesome preparation for our lives in Christ when we do have the freedom to intentionally love others outside our bubbles.

Y’all might think I’m crazy, but I learned to do this in the grocery store.  If you can separate yourself from your situation in the grocery store…meaning screaming kids…and take a look around, you will see all kinds of people that aren’t in your bubble.

You will see people who are like you and unlike you. You will find the sick and the hungry, the angry and the hurting.  You’ll see the young and old. You will see the workers and customers. It can give you some insight OUT of your world. You will see all kinds of people who, like you; need Jesus.

I starting praying when I’d go to the grocery store.  I go all the time, so it somewhat birthed a habit of prayer in my life. It would be simple, Lord, go before me. Then I started looking around and simply praying for people in my head.

I swear people think I set up a prayer booth everywhere I go. I don’t.

This practice allowed me time to get OUT of my head….get OUT of my bubble and try to see other people.  Put myself in their shoes..in a way.

Then I’d pray for the lady with the screaming kid.  And I’d pray for the old man cutting the meat, and the young kid working his first job.  I didn’t know it at the time, but I was creating a habit for prayer in my everyday life.

Prayer stretches the bubble of our lives because it connects us to the source that has no limits.Prayer stretches the bubble of our lives because it connects us to the source that has no limits..

Our bubbles limit us.  Be it the season of our lives or whatever, it does limit us to who we can love and serve in Jesus name.

It’s really really hard to even find time to THINK about other people, much less invest the time to get to know them and pour Jesus into them.

I love my bubble, but we are called to love people in Jesus name.  As Christ’s ambassadors, we should be compelled by Christ’s love to share the gospel. Evangelism is important.

Prayer moves Heaven into Earth.  Praying for people is loving people. Prayer is evangelism.

Do you struggle living inside your bubble? Do you find it difficult to even think about God, much less share the gospel?

Then Pray.  I don’t care who you are, anyone can pray.  Ask God to help you become Heaven minded.  Take a few seconds before you walk into the grocery store to take a deep breath and pray.  You never know what this little practice will create in your walk with the Lord. You might even make a new friend to love accidentally. It’s happened to me a couple of times, I pray it happens to you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your love for us.  Thank you for the people you have placed in our lives to love and serve. Help us and give us the hearts to see others outside our bubble.  Help us to become heaven minded and begin to see the needs in other’s life. I ask you increase our love for the people you love and help me to see how you want me to serve them in this stage of my life. Thank you for Jesus.  You are everything.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are We Careless With Our Words? Why We Shouldn’t Be.

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Matthew 12: 36 “But I tell you that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.” GULP…anyone else break into cold sweats when they read this?? EVERY Careless Word? YIKES…. I’m in trouble.

I immediately thanked Jesus for his grace and mercy!

But these words are written in red! This is Jesus talking!!  Jesus is reminding us that our words are important!

Now, He is talking to the Pharisees who have basically just accused Jesus of being Satan, but still(Matthew 12:24) I sometimes paint this picture in my head of the big bad Pharisees,and forget that I can totally be a Pharisee… and so can you.

Before Jesus speaks these words, he says in verse 34 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” This is why our words matter!

Our words represent truths hidden in our hearts!  Jesus cares deeply about what’s on the inside. His love for our hearts is what led him to the cross! Jesus isn’t simply warning us to watch our mouths, Jesus is warning us not to be careless with our hearts!

What words come out of our mouths?   Are they words that represent the heart of Christ? Do they speak life and love or are they filled with self hate and criticism towards others?

These are important questions to ask yourself.

I was listening to a lady teach on prayer.  I found myself thinking I wouldn’t have worn that.  She’s kind of boring.  I like her hair, though.

What is wrong with me???  This is a Jesus loving lady who has wisdom to share!!  I prayed  Jesus forgive me.  I have jealousy in my heart.  I still struggle with vanity and image.  I thought I was beyond this.  Please forgive what’s in my heart.

Our hearts are who we are; our feelings, secrets, thoughts….. the good and the bad reside in our hearts. Jesus wants to redeem each and every shortcoming that keeps us from becoming more like Him.  This is what spiritual growth looks like. He deeply cares about our hearts.

The words we think and say bring to light the roots in our hearts that Jesus wants to save and heal. Tweet that.

Let’s not be careless with our words, our hearts.  Let’s pay attention to the words we think and say and ask Jesus to reveal what ugly roots He wants to dig out.

That is what Jesus does!!!

He purifies our hearts so that we can see Him and seeing Him is everything.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

I have a verse that I memorized years ago to help me stop my ugly thoughts.

Philippians 4: 8:Finally Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

After I confessed the ugly in my heart about this sister in Christ who loves the Lord, I began to pray blessings over her and thanking God for what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable about her.

I hate the ugly in my heart.  It’s embarrassing and shameful, but it reminds me of my never ending need for Christ.  I know God to be faithful in cleansing us from unrighteousness, so as I continue to hunger and thirst for him, my words and thoughts will change.

And because of Jesus, I am not  afraid of that judgement day. Praise the Lord because the God of Peace is with me.

When you make Jesus Lord over your life, He will purify your heart.  He will cleanse your mind,  He will cleanse your heart and your words will change as a result.

Jesus ends this section of scripture with Matthew 12: 37 “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Our heart will acquit us and what’s in our heart will condemn us.  But Jesus wants our hearts. He has mine; I pray He has yours.

Have you given your heart to the Lord? Have you made Him Lord over your life?  Are there areas in your life that you need to confess before the Lord to clean? There is so much goodness when you do.

So….Please do… please give him your heart.  Give him the good, the bad, the ugly.  A life following him is a life worth living.

If you are reading this and you realize that your words don’t match a heart that belongs to Jesus, here is a prayer for you.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I confess that I’ve never asked you to save my heart.  Jesus please save my heart.  Please cleanse me and help me see you.  Come into my life. Thank you for your mercy and help me now. Please fill me the  Holy Spirit so that I may live a life that increases in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Help me to be able to say I love you and mean it.  Bring me people, passages, and books into my life so that I may know you and love you more deeply.

Thank you Jesus for the cross and for saving me.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Maybe Jesus does have your heart, but  your words aren’t speaking evidence of joy, peace, and encouragement like they used to. Here is a prayer for you!

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for loving my heart enough to cleanse it. Please help me to identify the lie I’m listening to that is keeping me from speaking words of life, peace, and enjoyment.  Thank you for loving me enough to never stop wanting chasing after every little piece of my heart that belongs to you.  Help me to go and sin no more as I learn to walk in your love.

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen

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Are We Asking God the Wrong Questions?

We serve a God of Yes!We follow a Jesus who is willing! (1)

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Are we asking God the wrong questions?

 

Guest Post: Am I asking God the right questions?

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Me: Where do you see me fitting in your kingdom, God? Where do you want me?

God: Sit awhile and listen.

And then I heard:
The answer to my question, “Where do I fit in the kingdom of God?” has always been right in front of me. God calls me to fit into His kingdom here and now, in the present glory. I felt silly when I realized that He has already placed me in His kingdom right where He wants me- as a wife, mother, teacher, daughter, & friend; as a woman of faith who desires nothing more than to be an instrument of grace.

Knowing now that I always knew the answer to my long-standing question, I began to ask different questions.

Me: What is holding me back from being an instrument of grace right here & now?

God: Sit awhile and listen.

And then I heard:
Some speak out loud & on fire for the Lord.
Some speak differently, creatively, distinctly.

I’ve never been one to say out loud those things that Lord speaks to me. I have always admired those people who God uses to share truths in a way that engages and captures a room. In the years of searching for my purpose in His kingdom, I have confused my quiet with a lack of confidence. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth, as I am coming to understand. My confidence can be found in my uniqueness in the Lord.

My fear of really being used by God was not because I didn’t have a story or gift to share but because I didn’t believe in my uniqueness. My low spiritual self-esteem high-jacked my purpose to share grace boldly with those in my present glory. My insecurities left me with a gaping wound where my calling & purpose was supposed to be.

Realizing this about myself led me to ask God another question, and this time it spoke to my creative, unique soul.

Me: God, how can I inspire You?

God: That is the right question, my daughter. Sit awhile and listen.

And then I heard:
I’ve been asking the wrong question the whole time. I’ve been asking God to inspire me to move forward. How selfish and self-centered?!?! Isn’t the grace offered to me at the cross enough of an inspiration to speak boldly for my God? Isn’t the call to be salt & light in a fallen & dark world enough of an inspiration? Isn’t the desire to live in true rebellion against today’s culture enough of an inspiration?

God inspires me every day to be useful in His kingdom. God inspired me at the moment of my salvation to go forth into the world, just as He has called me every day after. Now it’s my turn to inspire Him. To use my unique design, my gifts, my distinctive quiet in a way that gives God inspiration. So that when He paints the morning sky in bright pastels or performs a miracle, that I might be the twinkle in His eye.

My friends, God is calling you to ask the right questions and then to sit awhile and listen. Your question might be different from mine, or it might be not be so different. But no matter the question, our God is the same- everlasting and ever present. May we step out boldly to be an inspiration to our inspired God and may we learn to ask the right questions.


About Cricket. I am a dreamer, a creative soul. And while I am also a full-time teacher, wife, and mother; I find rest and purpose in writing. Suffering for years from low spiritual self-esteem and struggling to find a medium to share all that God has done in my life, I am finally out of hiding. Embracing a new found confidence in Christ, I am learning the sweetness of stepping out in obedience and living life in a position of bold-faith.  Through it all I run on Jesus, coffee, and lipstick… in that order. Tweet with me @CricketButler and read along at www.cricketbutler.com

#Gospel

I will turn the darkness into light and make the rough places smooth.I use this #hashtag more than any other because of the weight it carries in my life.  I love the gospel because it simply does what it says it will do.  God told us He was sending a Messiah before Christ was born and He told us what this Messiah would to.

This morning I was reminded once again what Jesus will do.

Isaiah 42: 16-17

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,  along the unfamiliar paths I will guide them:  I will turn the darkness into light before them  and make the rough places smooth.   These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

This is my prayer this morning.  That every eye that reads this comes to know that God has gone before us preparing the way to make our rough places smooth because of Jesus.

I pray for the lost, that today be the day that God guides them to the unfamiliar place of His salvation.

“For the gospel to be good news it has to invade dark places.”- Matt Chandler

And it is good news.  What Jesus has done for us is the good news that changes everything.

So thank you Jesus. Thank you for invading the dark places in our hearts, lives, families, towns, churches, countries, and nations.  I pray that today you continue to let us see how you are smoothing out the rough places. Let us see you in a way that gives us hope for face tomorrow. Let us be like you and not be discouraged, but walk faithfully as we continue to learn to walk in your ways.

Be encouraged today that you have a God that loves you and sits on His throne as King above every difficulty, situation, or struggle you have smoothing things out for His glory. May you be glorified as we gather corporately in our churches to worship your Holy name.

In Jesus name,

Amen